Commission on Human Rights

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Topic: Commission on Human Rights (Art. XIII, Section 17)
CARIÑO vs. COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
G.R. No. 96681, December 2, 1991
FACTS:
Some 800 public school teachers undertook “mass concerted actions” to protest the alleged
failure of public authorities to act upon their grievances. The “mass actions” consisted in staying
away from their classes, converging at the Liwasang Bonifacio, gathering in peacable
assemblies, etc. The Secretary of Education served them with an order to return to work within
24 hours or face dismissal. For failure to heed the return-to-work order, eight teachers at the
Ramon Magsaysay High School were administratively charged, preventively suspended for 90
days pursuant to sec. 41, P.D. 807 and temporarily replaced. An investigation committee was
consequently formed to hear the charges.
When their motion for suspension was denied by the Investigating Committee, said teachers
staged a walkout signifying their intent to boycott the entire proceedings. Eventually, Secretary
Carino decreed dismissal from service of Esber and the suspension for 9 months of Babaran,
Budoy and del Castillo. In the meantime, a case was filed with RTC, raising the issue of violation
of the right of the striking teachers’ to due process of law. The case was eventually elevated to
SC. Also in the meantime, the respondent teachers submitted sworn statements to Commission
on Human Rights to complain that while they were participating in peaceful mass actions, they
suddenly learned of their replacement as teachers, allegedly without notice and consequently for
reasons completely unknown to them.
While the case was pending with CHR, SC promulgated its resolution over the cases filed with it
earlier, upholding the Sec. Carino’s act of issuing the return-to-work orders. Despite this, CHR
continued hearing its case and held that the “striking teachers” “were denied due process of law;
…they should not have been replaced without a chance to reply to the administrative charges;”
there had been violation of their civil and political rights which the Commission is empowered to
investigate.”
ISSUE:
Whether or not CHR has the power to try and decide and determine certain specific cases such as
the alleged human rights violation involving civil and political rights.
HELD:
The Court declares the Commission on Human Rights to have no such power; and that it was not
meant by the fundamental law to be another court or quasi-judicial agency in this country, or
duplicate much less take over the functions of the latter.
The most that may be conceded to the Commission in the way of adjudicative power is that it
may investigate, i.e., receive evidence and make findings of fact as regards claimed human rights
violations involving civil and political rights. But fact finding is not adjudication, and cannot be
likened to the judicial function of a court of justice, or even a quasi-judicial agency or official. To
be considered such, the faculty of receiving evidence and making factual conclusions in a
controversy must be accompanied by the authority of applying the law to those factual
conclusions to the end that the controversy may be decided or determined authoritatively, finally
and definitively, subject to such appeals or modes of review as may be provided by law.

Dizon v Eduardo G.R. No. L-59118 March 3, 1988
C. J. Teehankee
Facts:
Eduardo Dizon, a 30 year old businessman, and Isabel Ramos, 22 years and a former architecture
student, disappeared during Martial Law. The two had been arrested with others by the military,
detained in the military camp, and then claimed by the military to have been released after nine
days. But they were not released to their parents, who had been visiting them, and were never
seen or heard from by anyone since then.
The application for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus had been filed by petitioners, Juan
Dizon and Soledad Ramos, on behalf of their son, Eduardo Dizon and their daughter, Isabel
Ramos, respectively, who were arrested by Philippine Constabulary of the Pampanga PC
Command then led by respondent Provincial Commander Col. Teddy Carian at, Sta. Ana,
Pampanga without warrant of arrest or Presidential Order of Arrest. They were detained by the
respondents at the PC Stockade at San Fernando, Pampanga under the jurisdiction of respondents
Brig. Gen. Vicente Eduardo, then Regional Commander of the area, holding office at Camp
Olivas, and Col. Teddy Carian for interrogation and investigation without assistance of counsel.
The Court issued the writ of habeas corpus on December 29, 1981. In the return of the writ filed
on behalf of respondents on January 5,1982, by then Solicitor General Estelito P. Mendoza, and
verified by respondent, then Provincial Commander Col. Carian, respondents insisted that the
detainees were indeed released on September 24,1981, and submitted the supporting
affidavits of the men assigned with respondent Carian's Provincial Headquarters.
Respondents denied petitioners' allegation of falsification of the detainees' signatures on their
release papers, claiming that the same were signed in their presence and asked for dismissal of
the petition.
Jose Diokno, as counsel for the petitioners, invoked the United Nations General Assembly
Resolution to stop the practice of enforced disappearances. He also posed several questions to
the Court.
Issues:
1. Do petitioners have the burden in law of proving that the detainees are still detained by
respondents or does the burden shift to respondents of proving that they did release the
detainees?
2. If respondents have the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that they released
the detainees, have they in fact discharged that burden in this case?
3. If respondents have not satisfied the Court that they released the detainees, but nevertheless
refuse or are unable to produce their bodies, what relief may the Court grant petitioners?
Held: respondents, No, reinvestigation by the CHR
Case remanded to CHR for further investigation.
Ratio:
1. The general rule in a number of cases that the release of a detained person renders the petition
for habeas corpus moot and academic.

Respondents make such a plea in line with their return that they had released the desaparecidos
after nine days. But their return begs the question. If the release of the detainees is an established
fact and not in dispute, they do not continue to be missing persons or desaparecidos. Where,
however, there are grounds for grave doubts about the alleged release of the detainees, where the
standard and prescribed procedure in effecting the release has not been followed, then the burden
of proving by clear and convincing evidence the alleged release is shifted to the respondents.
Release is an affirmative defense and "each party must prove his own affirmative
allegations," just as the burden of proof of self-defense in a killing rests on the accused.
Moreover, evidence of release lies particularly within respondents' power.
2. Diokno claimed that signatures of the detainees on their release papers were falsified. He
submitted specimens of Dizon’s signatures and compared it to signatures on documents that
respondents themselves submitted. He concluded that they were markedly different from the
signatures on their supposed release certificates. With respect to Eduardo Dizon, Diokno noted
particularly the very poor line quality of Dizon's signature on the release certificate when
compared to the speed and freedom of his signature on his voter's application form.
The Solicitor General, in turn, disputed Diokno's conclusions about the falsity of the detainees'
signatures on the release certificates and questions the reliability of the specimen signatures used,
adding that "it is not possible to make any comparison of signatures for the purpose of
determining genuineness on the basis of xerox copies.”
The Court also noted that the respondents did not follow the prescribed standard procedure for
releasing detainees.
1. The respondents did not release the detainees to their parents though the latter had been
visiting them and, in fact Dizon's father was in the camp on the very day he was supposedly
released.
2. Respondent Carian did not report the supposed releases to the Ministry of Defense or General
Eduardo
3. Respondent Carian's command could not readily furnish copies of the detainees' release
certificates to their parents when the latter asked for them.
4. Respondent Col. Carian had no authority, inherent or delegated, to release the detainees.
Carian also claimed to release them under the pretext that they would act as spies for the military.
He knew that the probability of the detainees' keeping their supposed bargain was remote. Yet, he
took no precautions to insure compliance. Worse, when they broke the supposed bargain by
failing to report as he says they agreed to, he took no steps to look for them.
3. Court can’t grant petitioners’ relief. Petitioners' charges of falsification of the detainees'
alleged signatures on the certificates of release, compounded by the irregularities and failure of
respondents to follow the prescribed procedure in effecting the release for purposes of
authentication and to produce and furnish the parents upon request copies of the release
certificates need thorough investigation.
It is not a trier of facts, nor does it have the means and facilities to conduct such investigation of
the grave charges at bar as well as of the whereabouts and fate of the desaparecidos.
More, the 1987 Constitution which was overwhelmingly ratified on February 2,1987 expressly
mandated the creation of the Commission on Human Rights. The Constitution vested the
Commission on Human Rights with broader powers than its predecessor committee, such as to
investigate, on its own or on complaint by any party, all forms of human rights violations
involving civil and political rights. Hence the case was referred here.

EPZA vs. Commission on Human Rights Case Digest
EPZA vs. Commission on Human Rights
G.R. No. 101476 April 14, 1992
Facts: EPZA (petitioner) purchase a parcel of land from Filoil Refinery Corporation, and before
petitioner could take possession of the area, several individuals had entered the premises and
planted agricultural products therein without permission from EPZA or its predecessor, Filoil.
EPZA paid a P10,000-financial-assistance to those who accepted the same and signed quitclaims.
Among them were private respondents (TERESITA VALLES, LORETO ALEDIA). Ten years
later, respondent Teresita, Loreto and Pedro, filed in the respondent Commission on Human
Rights (CHR) a joint complaint praying for "justice and other reliefs and remedies". Alleged in
their complaint was the information that EPZA bulldozed the area with acts in violation of their
human rights. CHR issued an Order of injunction commanding EPZA to desist from committing
such acts . Two weeks later, EPZA again bulldozed the area. They allegedly handcuffed private
respondent Teresita Valles, pointed their firearms at the other respondents, and fired a shot in the
air. CHR Chairman Mary Concepcion Bautista issued another injunction Order reiterating her
first order and expanded it to include the Secretary of Public Works and Highways, the
contractors, and their subordinates.
EPZA filed in the CHR a motion to lift the Order of Injunction for lack of authority to issue
injunctive writs and temporary restraining orders, but same was denied by the Commission
(CHR).
Hence, EPZA, filed in SC this special civil action of certiorari and prohibition with a prayer for
the issuance of a restraining order and/or preliminary injunction, alleging that the CHR acted in
excess of its jurisdiction and with grave abuse of discretion. A temporary restraining order (TRO)
was issued ordering the CHR to cease and desist from enforcing and/or implementing the
questioned injunction orders.
In its comment on the petition, the CHR asked for the immediate lifting of the restraining order.
The CHR contends that it’s principal function under Section 18, Art. 13 of the 1987 Constitution,
"is not limited to mere investigation" because it is mandated, among others to provide
appropriate legal measures for the protection of human rights of all persons within the
Philippines, as well as Filipinos residing abroad, and provide for preventive measures and legal
aid services to the under privileged whose human rights have been violated or need protection.
Issue: WON CHR have jurisdiction to issue a writ of injunction or restraining order against
supposed violators of human rights, to compel them to cease and desist from continuing the acts
complained of.
Held: Petition for certiorari and prohibition is GRANTED. The orders of injunction issued by
the respondent Commission on Human Right are ANNULLED and SET ASIDE and the TRO
which this Court issued is made PERMANENT.

In Hon. Isidro Cariño, et al. vs. Commission on Human Rights, et al., we held that the CHR is
not a court of justice nor even a quasi-judicial body.
“The most that may be conceded to the Commission in the way of adjudicative power is that it
may investigate, i.e., receive evidence and make findings of fact as regards claimed human rights
violations involving civil and political rights. But fact-finding is not adjudication, and cannot be
likened to the judicial function of a court of justice, or even a quasi-judicial agency or official.
The function of receiving evidence and ascertaining therefrom the facts of a controversy is not a
judicial function, properly speaking. To be considered such, the faculty of receiving evidence and
making factual conclusions in a controversy must be accompanied by the authority of applying
the law to those factual conclusions to the end that the controversy may be decided or determined
authoritatively, finally and definitely, subject to such appeals or modes of review as may be
provided by law. This function, to repeat, the Commission does not have.”
The constitutional provision directing the CHR to "provide for preventive measures and legal aid
services to the underprivileged whose human rights have been violated or need protection" may
not be construed to confer jurisdiction on the Commission to issue a restraining order or writ of
injunction for, if that were the intention, the Constitution would have expressly said so.
"Jurisdiction is conferred only by the Constitution or by law". It is never derived by implication.
The "preventive measures and legal aid services" mentioned in the Constitution refer to
extrajudicial and judicial remedies (including a preliminary writ of injunction) which the CHR
may seek from the proper courts on behalf of the victims of human rights violations. Not being a
court of justice, the CHR itself has no jurisdiction to issue the writ, for a writ of preliminary
injunction may only be issued "by the judge of any court in which the action is pending [within
his district], or by a Justice of the Court of Appeals, or of the Supreme Court. It may also be
granted by the judge of a Court of First Instance [now Regional Trial Court] in any action
pending in an inferior court within his district." (Sec. 2, Rule 58, Rules of Court). A writ of
preliminary injunction is an ancillary remedy. It is available only in a pending principal action,
for the preservation or protection of the rights and interest of a party thereto, and for no other
purpose.
Topic: Personal Dignity and Human Rights (Sec. 11, 1987 Constitution)
SIMON, JR. vs COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
G.R. No. 100150, January 5, 1994
FACTS:
On July 23, 1990, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) issued and order, directing the
petitioners "to desist from demolishing the stalls and shanties at North EDSA pending the
resolution of the vendors/squatters complaint before the Commission" and ordering said
petitioners to appear before the CHR.
On September 10, 1990, petitioner filed a motion to dismiss questioning CHR's jurisdiction and
supplemental motion to dismiss was filed on September 18, 1990 stating that Commissioners'
authority should be understood as being confined only to the investigation of violations of civil
and political rights, and that "the rights allegedly violated in this case were not civil and political

rights, but their privilege to engage in business".
On March 1, 1991, the CHR issued and Order denying petitioners' motion and supplemental
motion to dismiss. And petitioners' motion for reconsideration was denied also in an Order, dated
April 25, 1991.
The Petitioner filed a a petition for prohibition, praying for a restraining order and preliminary
injunction. Petitioner also prayed to prohibit CHR from further hearing and investigating CHR
Case No. 90-1580, entitled "Ferno, et.al vs. Quimpo, et.al".
ISSUE:
Is the issuance of an "order to desist" within the extent of the authority and power of the CHR?
HELD:
No, the issuance of an "order to desist" is not within the extent of authority and power of the
CHR. Article XIII, Section 18(1), provides the power and functions of the CHR to "investigate,
on its own or on complaint by any part, all forms of human rights violation, involving civil and
political rights".
The "order to desist" however is not investigatory in character but an adjudicative power that the
it does not possess. The Constitutional provision directing the CHR to provide for preventive
measures and legal aid services to the underprivileged whose human rights have been violated or
need protection may not be construed to confer jurisdiction on the Commission to issue an
restraining order or writ of injunction, for it were the intention, the Constitution would have
expressly said so. Not being a court of justice, the CHR itself has no jurisdiction to issue the writ,
for a writ of preliminary injunction may only be issued by the Judge in any court in which the
action is pending or by a Justice of the CA or of the SC.
The writ prayed for the petition is granted. The CHR is hereby prohibited from further
proceeding with CHR Case No. 90-1580.

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